MeatballWiki | RecentChanges | Random Page | Indices | Categories

The PeaceTalkRitual is an online community ritual that can be used to try end a deep and war-like conflict. It can succeed and it can fail.

The rules how to perform it, who can perform it, how to arrive at a success (peace) or failure (ongoing conflict) have to be developed and refined.





Design notes

The main problem of a peace process is to build or rebuild trust. Trust between the two parties in the end, but trust to the peace process itself in the start. It is difficult and risky for the performer of the PeaceTalkRitual to perform it. He must weigh in and be extremely committed to bring it to an good end, for otherwise he will loose something. It's unclear what. Perhaps all his trust, or perhaps he can only do a single PeaceTalkRitual in life, or perhaps he may fail only once. It's unclear what the conditions are. The peace will be something common to all in the consensus, a failure will be his failure alone, for misjudging time or people or systems. Only such a situation will create a predictable situations, were all will know that the performer will give his best. On the other hand in such a situation it becomes clear, that he has to offer - will offer, will owe - trust and friendship to all that help him in the peace process.

The PeaceTalkRitual is not only about a special conflict and its peace, it is about peace in general. The ritual text gifts bring those that participate in the situation to reflect about the conflict and its solutions and to reflect about peace in general, and on the other reflections on peace, with an "OM"-like quality. This is an extremely powerful ritual. It's life in text, it's peace in text. On the other hand -if we fail to create peace in the small, how dare we ask for peace at large scales?

The calculus of bloody negotiation

You cannot negotiate by yourself. Unless both parties are willing to negotiate, the mediator is likely to be shot in the crossfire, as the unwilling party will perceive mediation as an attempt of the other party to exert power over them.

But: This is a realworld image. Nobody can be shot online. Online conflicts are often between two main opponents and there is a wide spectrum of conflict participation or neutrality. Mediation must be a fair process. Online this can be checked by everybody, even TheAudience. So there seem to be many important differences to realworld situations.

It is only when both parties are convinced tha a) they are losing more than they are winning, and b) they cannot extricate themselves from the other person's life that they can enter into negotiation, as that is the least expensive option. Note the converses of a and b. If you are winning more than you are losing, the only negotiated resolution you will accept is surrender. If you can extricate yourself from the conflict (at a cost lower than the pain of negotiation), then that is better than negotiating. Also, if you want to force a negotiation--the best option as conquest is impossible--you can implicate the other party into a conflict they cannot escape (e.g. the weaker Palestine against the stronger Israel).

The effect of an online conflict is isolation. It reduces the chances for (heavy) BarnRaising for both sides. In realworld, negotiations are often a zero sum game. Online we have synergy, we are able to produce symbolic values in a peace process.

For a place whose only purpose is BarnRaising, we trade the value of BarnRaising against all conflicts. If we push a conflict too far, we simultaneously undercut BarnRaising (reducing positive reinforcement) and increase anger (negative reinforcement). The conception that we only lead by our hands, hearts, and minds is to remind us to remain convincing and appealing and thus not get into situations where we need to reestablish peace. However, we do not need to negotiate for peace normally as everyone has the RightToLeave. If we are stuck in a situation where someone is lording power over us so we do not have a RightToLeave, we must take this power away from them as that lording power ruins our fun. If it isn't fun, it isn't worth it.

That may be a valid motivation for conflict. But on the other hand, when you succeeded to defend your values, then it may make sense to open again for peace, for ForgiveAndForget and for the loosers that went into isolation. I think a peaceful mind, the ability to overcome old emotions, is an important signal to TheAudience. We are still here to pave the path for the silent public to agree and join in.

Instead, since we can only control ourselves, we must work towards being convincing and appealing--BarnRaising--and work towards NonViolence. We cannot demand the other party to make amends; we definitely cannot force them to do so. All we can do is hope they are convinced and attracted enough to want to make amends. That is, they see they are losing more than they are winning.

That should be made clear in the PeaceTalkRitual. What was it all about? What has been won? What has been lost? What can be rebuilt? -- HelmutLeitner



MeatballWiki | RecentChanges | Random Page | Indices | Categories
Edit text of this page | View other revisions